Sonya Deville Hosted a Parade of Champions
Deville brought out all of SmackDown's champions as a celebration of WWE's return to live events this summer, as WWE revealed earlier in the day. Okay, so almost all of SmackDown's champions, because Roman Reigns wasn't out there and Paul Heyman (who came out to Reigns' old entrance music, which was weird) said it was because Reigns was the champion and would speak later in the night. We don't see this type of segment often, so I thought it was cool. It also set up the subsequent six-woman tag team match with Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler and Bayley brawling with Bianca Belair, Natalya and Tamina.
Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax and Bayley def. SmackDown Women's Champion Bianca Belair and WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Natalya and Tamina
Well, I guess Natalya and Tamina are officially babyfaces, though I guess that was pretty apparent last week when they won the tag titles and got the big pyro celebration. I don't remember there being an actual turn, but oh well. This was a perfectly fine six-woman tag team match that was designed to get heat back on the heels following their recent losses, so it worked in that respect. By the way, unless I missed something, I don't think it was explained why Raw Superstars Jax and Baszler are able to appear on SmackDown despite no longer being the WWE Women's Tag Team Champions.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. King Corbin
Rick Boogs played guitar during Nakamura's entrance, which is something I didn't know I wanted until it happened. Boogs got over almost overnight through an appearance or two on NXT TV in early 2019, but he's barely shown up since then aside from those Old Spice commercials the company did during WrestleMania season. If this gets him on the show in a regular role, I'm not complaining. That said, I still don't care about Corbin and Nakamura feuding over the dumb crown. It'd be cool if, as others have suggested, this leads to the King of the Ring tournament being brought back and Nakamura winning it, but I don't suspect that's the case. I'm happy Nakamura is at least on the show for a change and the match itself was decent, but Nakamura shouldn't need help to beat Corbin with an inside cradle.
Cesaro Interrupted Universal Champion Roman Reigns Before Being Attacked Seth Rollins
Heyman running down everyone Reigns has conquered since returning to WWE (including The Fiend and Braun Strowman from very early on in his reign) was a blast. Meanwhile, Reigns' promos have that must-see feel to them, more than anyone else in the company. This was another terrific promo from him here before he was interrupted by Cesaro. Reigns defeated Cesaro decisively at WrestleMania Backlash, but I'd be down for a rematch because they worked so well together. Maybe we'll get that rematch on an upcoming episode of SmackDown because it looks like Cesaro will be resuming his rivalry with Rollins at Hell in a Cell instead.
SmackDown Tag Team Champion Dominik Mysterio def. Robert Roode
Roode and Dolph Ziggler continue to talk a big game but fail to back it up in the ring. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the champions being booked strong (especially after the Mysterios were made to feel like afterthoughts for so many months), but it's weird Roode and Ziggler haven't been able to win once against them. I thought Roode would at least beat Dominik here, but nope, Dominik pulled out the victory. It was a nice little match but too short to be anything special.
Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews def. Big E, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in a Fatal 4-Way Match
This brought back memories of the Intercontinental Championship Fatal 4-Way from almost exactly five years ago at Extreme Rules 2016, which also happened to feature Owens and Zayn. If you've never seen it before, WWE actually has it up in its entirety on their YouTube channel here. Similarly, this was a very fun Fatal 4-Way where everyone got their time to shine. They were given plenty of time and the action was entertaining as expected. I was hoping Crews would retain his title, but I expected it to by the predictable interference from Commander Azeez, not the returning Aleister Black. That was a pleasant surprise and I'm happy he has direction straight from the get-go. Fingers crossed WWE gets it right with him this time.
SmackDown usually does a great job of limiting the number of segments/matches on the show and instead focusing on backstage stuff, like the ongoing angle with The Usos, Black's vignettes, hype for the following week or for the night's main event, etc. This episode was an example of that I thought with everything in the undercard serving a purpose and then the Intercontinental Championship getting the spotlight in the main event. Plus, we finally got the return of Black at the end, so that was notable as well. I've been really digging the vibe of the blue brand these past few months and this edition only reinforced my enjoyment of it.